Currently viewing the tag: "bug love"

Subject:  Polyphemus Moths mating
Geographic location of the bug:  Pottstown,Pa.
Date: 07/04/2019
Time: 04:18 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My husband found these two hanging out at our pool. We were Amazed! We have Never seen anything so beautiful.
How you want your letter signed:  Bev Farris

Mating Polyphemus Moths

Dear Bev,
Thanks so much for sending in your images of mating Polyphemus Moths.  They are indeed a wondrous sight.  The lower moth in the pair is the male, as evidenced by his much bushier antennae that he uses to locate a female by the pheromones she releases.

Mating Polyphemus Moths

Subject:  What are these two insects?
Geographic location of the bug:  Ben Lomond, CA. Santa Cruz County, CA. Redwood forest.
Date: 06/20/2019
Time: 02:20 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Crowd sourcing all entomologists! I found these two creatures on my backdoor yesterday. I am guessing they are either grasshopper or katydid nymphs. If they are the same species, they show sexual dimorphism. The bottom one was about 2-2.5 inches long (minus antennae). I also assume that nymphs do not mate . . . so are these two just hanging out together? Any clarifications welcome.
How you want your letter signed:  Carla

Mating Timemas

Dear Carla,
What an exciting submission to our site you have submitted.  These are not nymphs, and though there is no actual coupling happening, your images document a male (smaller and on top) and female Timema engaging in pre- or post-mating activity.  Timemas are related to Walkingsticks, not Orthopterans, and according to BugGuide the habitat is:  “
On foliage, twigs, or branches of host shrubs or trees…or on the ground near base of host or other plants, where they may retreat during the day or drop upon disturbance. Sometimes also found sheltering under stones. Host plants mostly associated with chaparral; some with woodlands or forest (e.g. douglas fir, redwood).  Green morphs tend to rest on leaves; brown to gray morphs on stems, branches or ground.  Unstriped morphs are usually associated with broad-leaved host plants (e.g. oaks, ceanothus, manzanita, etc.). Striped morphs are usually associated with host plants having needle-like leaves (e.g. chamise, douglas fir, redwood, etc.).  Coloration, stripes, and other markings serve as camouflage, and are adaptations driven by selection pressure due to predation by visually-oriented birds and lizards.”  BugGuide also has a map showing the ranges of some of the 21 recognized species, but BugGuide also notes:  “dependable species ID requires study of the shape of externally visible structures of the terminalia, especially of the male (for non-parthenogenetic spp.)…in conjunction with location, host plant, color and markings” but that is beyond our area of expertise.  Based on the map, our best guess is that your species is Timema californicum, and BugGuide does indicate:  “T. californicum has records north of San Francisco Bay in Marin Co.”  Of that species, BugGuide notes:  “Recorded host plants: manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.), ceanothus (Ceanothus spp.), oak (Quercus spp.), mountain mahogony (Cercocarpus spp.), toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia).”  If we miscalculated your location, please let us know.  In closing, BugGuide also notes:  “NEWS ITEM! (3/29/18): The Timema Discovery Project is an important new initiative aiming to harness as many people as possible to collect much needed data for advancing our understanding of Timema…please visit the web site, spread the word, and participate!”  Thanks again for submitting this exciting posting.

Mating Timemas

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for responding and sending the information! I am excited to discover a family of bugs I’ve been unfamiliar with. I know regular walking sticks but did not know about these short-bodied relatives. Wonderful!

Subject:  Two lovebirds
Geographic location of the bug:  Waleska Georgia
Date: 06/19/2019
Time: 04:50 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Saw these two on back of my home. They have bright orange body with bold magenta wings with white spots.
How you want your letter signed:  Cyndi

Mating Oakworm Moths

Dear Cyndi,
These are mating Oakworm Moths in the genus
Anisota, and there are several similar looking species in the genus, and based on BugGuide data, at least four species are known from Georgia.

Subject:  Scorpion tail bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Austin, Tx
Date: 06/17/2019
Time: 11:22 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This 4 inch long bug has been sticking around our entrance for a few days. I never saw it move but after 3 days it changed its position.
Looks creepy with that weired scorpion-like thing coming out of its tail.
Thanks for helping to identify the species.
How you want your letter signed:  Andreas

Mating Muskmare

Dear Andreas,
This is a mating Muskmare, a Two Striped Walkingstick.  The tail you mentioned is actually the smaller male insect riding the back of his much larger mate.  Featured Creatures has a wealth of information on this species, including:  “this species is capable of squirting a strong-smelling defensive spray that is painfully irritating to the eyes and mucous membranes.”

Thanks a lot for your help here, Daniel!
After I submitted my pictures I went back to do more investigation as the number of legs didn’t match bug or spider. After the 10th look I also discovered that is actually a mating couple. Guess I need more practicing 😉
Cheers from Austin
Andreas Stark

Subject:  Black beetles
Geographic location of the bug:  Denver City , Texas
Date: 06/16/2019
Time: 08:10 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello!!! We have had an explosion of these beetles. Never seen them here before.
How you want your letter signed:  Bugs aren’t scary

Desert Stink Beetle

These appear to be Desert Stink Beetles in the genus Eleodes, possibly Eleodes fusiformis which is pictured on BugGuide.  Desert Stink Beetles are sometimes called Acrobat Beetles or Circus Beetles because they have a habit of sticking their abdomens in the air when threatened, and they appear to be standing on their heads.  The group image you submitted appears to document mating activity.

Mating Desert Stink Beetles

Subject:  Crane Fly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Plymouth Meeting Pa
Date: 05/08/2019
Time: 01:39 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Is this a crane fly?  If so what kind of crane fly is this? Are they agricultural pests?  They were found mating on my aronia.
How you want your letter signed:  Concerned Gardener

Mating Tiger Craneflies

Dear Concerned Gardener,
We believe these are mating Tiger Crane Flies in the genus
Nephrotoma, which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania:  “Although individual adults have a relatively short life span of 10 to 15 days, the flight period for each species can last from 25-30 days. The main functions of the adult stage are mating and egg-laying. Feeding is less important, and probably water is the most pressing need.”  That said, adults are benign for the gardener, except that they provide food for insect eating birds and other predators that often benefit the garden.  The larvae are probably a greater concern since they feed, but according to the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania:  “The larvae are found in a wide variety of habitats, varying from strictly aquatic to terrestrial, even relatively dry soil. Their habitats include fresh water in fast-flowing streams, marshes, springs, meadows, seeps, tree holes, algal growth or mosses on rock faces near water, organic mud and decaying vegetable debris along the shores of streams and ponds, accumulated decomposed leaves and rotting wood on the forest floor, and occasionally soil in lawn and pastures. … Larvae are the growth stage and the majority of crane fly larvae are scavengers feeding on decomposing plant material and the associated microorganisms. Larvae of some aquatic species are predators on other small invertebrates, and several are herbivores on algae, moss or herbaceous plants.”   There are also many nice images of Tiger Crane Flies on iNaturalist.

Mating Tiger Crane Flies